Cora Evelyn Gannaway
Geology PhD Student Excels
Though many wait until later in life to travel the world, that was not the case for geology doctoral student and 2018-2019 Natalicio Fellow, Cora Evelyn Gannaway Dalton. Since she began studying Geology as an undergraduate at Sewanee, The University of the South, Evelyn has conducted research across the United States and in various countries throughout the world. The Tennessee native contributed to Geoarchaeological work, searching the base of the Parthenon for clues about the casting of the bronze statue of Athena. She studied Geomorphology, looking at the natural impacts of coastal erosion on St. Catherine’s Island, GA, and documented glacial erosion in the Colorado Rockies. Now in the final phase of her graduate studies, Evelyn looks forward to bringing her love of travel and geology to college students.
After starting her graduate education at New Mexico State University, Evelyn followed her mentor, Dr. Katherine A. Giles, to UTEP in 2012. In addition to continuing her work with the leading carbonate sedimentologist, Evelyn appreciated the opportunity to study in UTEP’s large and thematically diverse Department of Geological Sciences. “When I moved here it was nice to have more professors around, which added diversity in terms of research that the department is doing,” Evelyn explained. “We have faculty looking at earthquakes in Nepal and Tibet, to hydrologists working on water issues here in the Southwest and other regions in the country.”
Now beginning her last year in the Geology Doctoral program, Evelyn is using field-based studies in South Australia and Spain to explore the interplay between sedimentation and salt tectonics. She looks at sedimentary rocks as a record of the influence of evolving salt structures on the deformational and depositional systems that develop around them. “We can then use these ancient systems as analogs to better understand modern environments,” Evelyn said, “such as the Gulf of Mexico (USA), North Sea (N. Europe), and Dead Sea (Israel),”
Acknowledging the impact geology professors can have on their students, Evelyn plans to pursue a career at a teaching-intensive college. “I think it is really important that we [geologists] don’t make this science too complicated for the public to understand,” she observed. “Geology is a very applicable topic right now and it’s important to explain how it influences our everyday life. For me to do that I look to teaching; that’s what excites me."
If Evelyn is not working on her research or teaching, you can find her in the outdoors hiking or camping with her two dogs and husband. For information about research and study abroad, contact a member of our staff or click here to learn about the opportunities such as the Fulbright Fellowship and the Peace Corps. Click here for more information about the prestigious Natalicio Dissertation Completion Fellowship and other internal funding opportunities.